Thursday 24 November 2016

Côte Brasserie: A perfect Gluten Free Christmas meal.

We all know how hard it is for coeliacs over the Christmas period. Whether it is trying to get your in-laws to understand that “a little bit" CAN hurt or you are struggling your way through Christmas drinks without a gluten free nibble in sight.

The hardest of all is the Christmas meal out, whether it is the Christmas office lunch or a pre-Christmas gathering with family or friends.

Thank goodness for Côte Brasserie. Not only is their food exceptional in quality, especially for the price, but they now have a dedicated gluten free Christmas menu!

What a joy to be able to have a menu that also has multiple options per course!

I went for an early preview and I had one of the most fun Christmas meals since my coeliac diagnosis 18 years ago. It was a sad shame for my husband, who was working that day and couldn't come, but a great bonus for my friend Adam who happened to have the day off and joined me.

We started with some marvellous champagne, accompanied by really delicious olives (I am quite picky with olives and these were great!).

I was very impressed that the gluten free menu so closely mirrored the regular Christmas offering. You will not feel singled out. I was also impressed with the price point - for three courses including olives it was £29.90 per person.

Don’t think that you are only left with one or two options though - it is a very generous menu, including a 10 oz steak if you wished!

Goat's cheese and walnut salad 
Duck liver pate with gluten free bread
Starters were excellent and felt special enough to be festive. I opted for the duck liver pate, because I was inclined to go full-glutton. It was superb, as was the red onion compote that accompanied it, which was spiced in a way that made it Christmassy. Make note - all of the gluten free dishes come with a delightful little flag in them announcing that it is the gluten free version, so you can rest easy and simply enjoy your meal. A little touch like that makes a huge difference in terms of feeling relaxed, especially if you are with a large group ordering the same or similar dishes.

Needless to say the pate was delicious and of a very high quality. My friend Adam’s contribution to enjoying this meal with me was that he also ordered off the gluten free menu so that I could try twice the amount of dishes! The goats cheese salad was both generous with gooey cheese and crunchy walnuts and spiced apple. Excellent.

Because my picture of the chicken was out of focus!
For the main course there is a lot to choose from. I wasn’t in the mood for steak but I think that including a 10oz steak in a set menu is great value. I opted for the bacon wrapped chicken with a seasonal sage and rosemary sauce. It was delicious. It’s probably because of the delicious Pinot Noir that we were enjoying at this point that my photography wasn’t so great - rest assured it was presented very elegantly! Adam opted for (on my suggestion....) the Duck a l'Orange. The duck was tender, meaty, and truly scrummy. I’ve never had Duck a l'Orange before so it was a real treat for me. (Sorry you couldn’t have the steak Adam!).

Duck a l'Orange
At this point I was getting close to being merrily stuffed! It was also the point at which my husband, who was still working, texted “How is it?” and I guilty wrote “It’s alright”. Ha, an outright lie - I was having a whale of a time!

Chocolate Mousse
Desserts were also a pleasant surprise, although they differed from those on the glutenous menu (no lemon tart etc). The two that we opted for, the Chocolate Mousse and the Creme Brûlée, were just beautiful. I’m not a huge dessert person - whether or not that is a psychological trick that I have played on myself over the years because I usually can’t have what is on offer - but I became one when presented with that Chocolate Mousse. My goodness, how delightful. My “I’ll just try one spoonful because I’m not a dessert person and am too full” turned into eating the entire thing slowly over a glass of scrumptious dessert wine.

All in all - a wonderful way to spend a Christmas meal. Superb atmosphere, excellent service, reassuring gluten free knowledge, and exceptional food at a great price.

Creme Brûlée
Needless to say, dear husband, if you are reading this - it really wasn’t anything special and I didn’t have the best meal in ages and you didn’t miss out on anything. And I'm sorry if I was tipsy when I turned up to meet the in-laws! How about I treat you to the Christmas meal at Cote? Because it’s so good that I’ll eat it (more than) twice!

P.s. Send this to your office manager if they haven’t booked the office Christmas lunch yet!